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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,694

PostPosted: Sat 17 Nov, 2018 6:46 pm    Post subject: A&A French Medieval Sword: Another Look         Reply with quote

Hi Folks,

I recently purchased an Arms & Armor French Medieval Sword after some years eyeing it on their web-site. One thing I noticed during this 'eyeing' period is that there's not a whole lot of pictures or discussion of this sword on the web besides a brief Tritonworks review and this classic myArmoury review: http://myArmoury.com/review_aa_french.html , so I figured I'd a add a few pictures and thoughts here, particularly since my sword has a couple of upgrades (see below). I tend to agree with the points raised in the latter review so this won't be an exhaustive review, but rather a few impressions.

Overview: As well documented before this sword is based on the famous Oakeshott XV in the Wallace Collection, XV.7 in Oakeshott's records of the medieval sword. It's also well known that Oakeshott considered this a honed-down XVIII. A&A chose to reconstruct this sword in what might have been its original form, resulting in a wider, fuller, more robust cutting blade. To spice things up a bit, I asked A&A to upgrade the grip, adding risers and wrap beneath a red grip, rather than the standard smooth black leather. I then added replica Henry III gold pennies to the pommel recesses, to provide some more 'pop'. These pennies would date at least a century before this sword's date (1350-1400), but its easy to imagine the 'original owner' might have had some old coins stashed away in remembrance of their illustrious ancestor's exploits.

Here are A&As measurements, which seem to be right for my model:

Overall Length: 37.4";
Blade Length: 30";
Blade Width: 2.4";
Quillon Width: 8.25";
Grip Length: 4.2";
Balance Point: 3";
Weight: 2.9 lbs (1315g)

A point of possible contention is that this blade length agrees with Oakeshott's numbers, but I have seen some shorter replicas of the same sword that claimed to be accurate. I'm not sure what is right, but I personally prefer the bigger blade. It falls almost exactly between A&A's other two Kingly XIII swords (Henry V and Edward III) in terms of size and weight.

Handling: This is no wallflower. While the low PoB and good weight distribution provide for relatively easy handling, there's a lot of wide, powerful blade here, as well as an intimidating tip on the end of a reasonably stiff diamond section. One feels the weight of the sword mainly in decelerating stops, which suggests it would have a lot of momentum for cutting and blunt force impact. The grip is a bit on the long side for an arming sword, but allows plenty of space for a second hand to be placed over the pommel, adding needed power when whacking one's opponent over the helm. This sword is not long enough for ideal use on horseback and not light or agile enough for ideal civilian fencing. Its definitely military. I'd see it as a side sword for a knight in the age of plate when lance and long sword are lost, broken, or there's just not enough room to use them. It would be devastating against lightly armed archers or foot soldiers, and has enough oomph to knock a well-armored knight to his knees. The grip modifications on this one allow for a fairly loose grip (see comments in review linked above) without loosing control.

Fit and Finish: The blade is exceptional, and a good argument for those who believe A&A does the best finish in the business. The cross is equally clean and symmetric. The grip turned out beautifully (thanks Craig!), as good as anything you will find out there. The weakest point would be the pommel, which shows it's casting origins clearly, especially around the volcano-like sides and recess. Although, truth be told, its much more symmetric than the original! I think the pommel looks much nicer with the addition of the coins in the recesses, or whatever you might prefer to use.

Overall, I think this is a great sword for people interested in this type/period. It may be argued that the competition (you know who I mean) has a slight edge on A&A when it comes to off-the shelf production pieces, but the big advantage with A&A is that they are willing to customize swords as you wish, including mods to their production pieces at a reasonable price, up to and including full-on custom commissions. In my experience, if you tell them exactly what you want, you will rarely be disappointed.

Enjoy the pictures!



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Original Sword

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Un-distorted Hilt

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Cross view of hilt

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Pommel View of Hilt

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Hilt view of Sword

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Blade View

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Full Length

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Sword in Hand
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Timothy Verseput




Location: United States
Joined: 13 Nov 2018

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun 18 Nov, 2018 4:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice review, and that's a beautiful sword!
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,890

PostPosted: Sun 18 Nov, 2018 5:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it may have been as long ago as Claudio bringing it up at NetSword that I had last read of a hands on impression. That said, often on my mind whenever browsing the site. Thanks for the pictures.

Cheers
GC
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Victor R.




Location: Spring, Texas
Joined: 28 Jan 2008
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 272

PostPosted: Sun 18 Nov, 2018 10:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great review of a really nice sword. Love the addition of the coins. I have several swords with pommel recesses but nothing to place within them. Can't really be in the market for a new sword or other high dollar acquisition any time soon, but maybe I can find some appropriate replica coins or gemstones...
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 1 page

Spotlight topics: 4
Posts: 4,139

PostPosted: Sun 18 Nov, 2018 4:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What kind of distal taper is on that blade? As a stabbity sword with a lot o profile taper, it may not need much
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,694

PostPosted: Sun 18 Nov, 2018 7:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger Hooper wrote:
What kind of distal taper is on that blade? As a stabbity sword with a lot o profile taper, it may not need much


You're right Roger. It's not that thick. I still don't have callipers, but based on my 6 year old's ruler it's 4mm near base and still 3.5 mm before the final taper to tip. The mass distribution is dictated by the profile taper. As one might infer, the cross section starts flatter and becomes more diamond - like toward the tip.
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